Saturday, November 2, 2013

Demographic Timebomb

The 2011 Census revealed the gap between the two main blocks had decreased from 157,965 to 58,332 in ten years, the equivalent of a reduction of 9,963 per year.

If the trends of the last ten years are to continue, all things being equal, we can calculate the date in which parity is reached.

If the gap is closing by 9,963 per year, it is closing by 27.3 per day (9,963/365). With the gap of 58,332 it will take 2,136 days for parity to be achieved (58,332/27.3).

The Census was carried out on 27 March 2011. 2,136 days on from the this date is 30 January 2017!

Of course people under the age of 18 cannot vote. Excluding under 18s the gap between the main blocks in Census 2011 is 98,561. The gap in the 2001 census was 182,202. Between the last two census' the gap between the two main blocks has decreased by 8,364 per year or 22.9 per day. The gap of 98,561 divided by the change per day gives us 4,301 days. 4,301 days on from 27 March 2011 is 04 January 2023!



  1. It is true that we are heading for a crossing point at which point both major religious blocks / traditions will be equal in number.
    What is just as equally significant, if not more so, is the fact that the Catholic population has a much younger demographic than the older Protestant population.

    The changes that have happened recently in Belfast city council are inevitable to happen in Stormont as Belfast is a microcosm of NI as a whole.

    Maybe that's the real reason why unionism was so upset at the democratic flag vote.

  2. That's a bit of a wing mirror view, making things look closer than they really are. First, consider that a further X years must pass before any vote could be taken resulting in a majority of 1, where X is the minimum voting age in years. Then add a few as the vote will not be taken immediately. It still looks like another generation before there will be any change. However, the inevitability of change make help accelerate it as the tipping point approaches.

  3. Just misses the the big 100 bash for 1916 SF will be disappointed. The next census data is going to be painfull for the fleggers. I expect the 2 blocks to be approx 45% CCB and 42% PCB obviously we will have the nationality stats again to try and conveniently muddle things with everyone claiming the Northern Irish for themselves

  4. Ollie - That is a good point and the main reason why the trends will continue (higher catholic birth rate and higher protestant death rate). However if a majority of CRNs does not turn into a majority of votes for Nationalist parties the demographics are irrelevant. Catholic apathy on the increase.

    Anonymous - You are correct in that under 18s cannot vote (voting age could well be reduced to 16). This does not mean that 18 years need to pass before the demographics equal votes. This would be the case if the mortality rates were equal between the two communities. We know that they are not.

    There is no doubt that demographic change alone will not bring about reunification. But there will be two game changers before a successful referendum is possible. 1. A Catholic majority (or plurality to be precise) in the North. 2. A Nationalist majority in the Assembly.

  5. Another demographic nugget came out this week in the form of the monitoring report on workplace employment. Gap closed by around a percentage point- in line with recent trends..

  6. Thanks for the heads up. I'll have a look now. I wasn't expecting it out until the New Year. 1% swing seems to be consistent every year.

    1. I wrote on last year's school census thread that the schools data is out. I provided the link there. C: 51.1% P: 39.2% other: 9.7%